Of Masks and Then Some…

venetian_masks_iv_by_maluviam-d3h0lie
Source: Deviantart

I love masks! Absolutely obsessed with them… Over the years, with exchanges and forages around unexpected haunts I managed to build an impressive collection.

Let’s see. My go-to mask is my relaxed-and-easy-going one. I wear it for my social engagements, cooking expeditions and random late evening walks. I adore my rare coral twinkly-eyed number intuitively worn in the company of bakery items and happy dogs. Rare so because the mask has a tendency to make me look totally slightly batty to the world.

My second most-used albeit the least preferred is my serious-and-yes-I-am-responsible one. At times I wish I had never found it, but life didn’t really give me a choice and I had to grudgingly add it to my collection. And boy! Was it exorbitant or what! It came at the cost of my sarcastic-but-mischievous masterpiece I had lovingly honed over time and now sits mortgaged on most workdays. A flirtatious one with golden trimmings, a firmly-determined piece and the classic oh-look-at-me-I’m-so-sympathetic also find themselves on the top shelf. And while I am working madly to get hold of a grim-and-angry mask, for the life of me I cannot locate it. The alternative I found sadly bears a close resemblance scrunchingmynose.

My chest is nowhere full, but with time I will add and start mixing & matching those personalities. Just like playing with my wardrobe! Maybe borrow from someone once in a while. Or combine a few for the super-chic look that goes with certain situations. I even have a good mind to throw on an inappropriate one just for kicks.  If nothing else works, I browse and get myself a new mask. As long as it doesn’t come at the cost of my soul, I am cool adding it to my rapidly expanding collection.

I have mastered the science of carrying my masks along without drawing attention to the bulk weighing me down. A skill that took me a while to develop but now I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Can you imagine being faced with your significant other, his ex-girlfriend, your hard-nosed manager and the yummy waffle stall at the same time? Well – I just imagined and trust me – that colossal set of masks nestling me is my lone hope for survival and sanity.

Addressing the elephant in the room, what of the face behind the mask? Well! It is absolutely flawless and concealed. The mirror is fogged with the reflections of the masks and the courage to to wipe it keeps eluding. It tries to convince itself that perfection is ideal and exposure will mar its beauty with scars, lines and abrasions. The conviction is failing even as I write this and my face desperately wants to breathe in the spring air. A smile blooms in reminiscence and earns a few wrinkles while thinking of the select few with whom the masks lay forgotten. Hopefully, a day will come when I am able to donate my entire collection to an antique museum – simply to look at and to learn from.

 Image Source

SoCS ‘Shape’ | Shaping the Personality

“We continue to shape our personality all our life. If we knew ourselves perfectly, we should die.” – Albert Camus

We are all different and unique. There are billions of us around yet, no two people are the same. In spite of getting exposure to exactly the same kind of education, upbringing, environment and social circle there are unique traits within each of us that make us distinctive.

Which become a part of our personality, inner nature, temperament… whatever!

Often, a rhetoric has often been raised in our circles – “He is a changed man”, “She wasn’t always like this” and “She went there and has become radically different!” By these lines, we imply that a person has done a total roundabout of their inherent or previous personality. They have changed.

But here is the question – have they really changed? Or have they just re-shaped themselves? Is there really such a dynamic upheaval or just the illumination of a few subtle traits that were always floating beneath the surface?

I am going to draw an analogy here. Take a piece of clay. You can shape it, mould it, twist it and smash it into any form that you desire. Well, almost any. But the content, the matter of what that clay is made up of doesn’t change. That remains static. We just realign the raw material into different shapes.

We are the same! Our personalities don’t really undergo a change. A set of traits isn’t replaced by another. We re-shape, we develop, we tweak, and we add on a layer, we dig deeper. But we don’t go suddenly from Type A to Type B. With time and circumstances, some shades of our personality just realign themselves as per the need and priority. But our core canvas doesn’t change – we just add more colors! Some hues of the original personality we have got just imbibes them. With clay, the material doesn’t change unless you put it through some chemical or other scientific process (forgive me, I am a finance girl – so really not sure of the specifics). Same thing with us, unless some real shit happens and we get put through a massive grind – we really aren’t changing.

We are transforming. We are evolving. We are re-shaping.

Which is a beautiful thing.

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The prompt at Stream of Conscious Saturday was “shape”. This is my take on it. Do leave a comment below with your thoughts 🙂

Photo Challenge #25 “The Other Woman”

Photo Credit: Tom Bagshaw
Photo Credit: Tom Bagshaw

Every waking moment Coline spent, her thoughts would stray to HER! She struggled to keep from being drawn to the door across the hall and failed. She shook her head and started dressing for work. Her style reflected her personality – plain and discreet which easily melted in the crowd. As she brushed her straight hair, her thoughts flashed to how SHE would do her hair this morning. Tied back with a colorful scarf or half open with the riot of curls spilling down her back? Whatever she did, it would turn heads!

As she sipped her chocolate milk, she saw the discarded green tea SHE had left on the counter. “Nicole!” she sighed. For the millionth time, she wondered what she had been thinking when she had taken HER as a flat mate! She fought this incessant perceptual war that brewed self-doubts and jealousy inside her. Nicole was everything that she wasn’t. Smart, funny and witty – the cynosure of all eyes!  She had the perfect life, a sassy job and attractive friends. Her clothes fit her like a glove and her boyfriend looked like he had come straight from romance novels. Spitefully, she reached out and knocked over the health supplements Nicole had arranged on the counter and stalked out to catch the bus. No luxury cars for her, unlike her dear flat mate!

Nicole’s face fell when she saw the mess Coline had made yet again. With a grimace, she set the place in order. She read the resentment in Coline’s eyes every time she came back late from parties. No matter how hard she tried, Coline never understood how much she admired her. A steady job, a sensible boyfriend and a secure future! It looked so promising than the superficial gloss she led. She made up her mind, “I will talk to her. I can’t take this anymore!

Cranky and nursing her favourite poison from the bar, Coline stumbled into the house. As she spied Nicole’s reflection in the mirror, her mind registered two things – she owned the dress and yet it looked better on Nicole! A red film descended on her and she lashed out, tearing the dress from her. As her vision cleared, she saw a bloody disfigured face staring accusingly at her. Horrified, she rushed to the hospital and frantically explained what had happened between Nicole and her. She tried to resist the sedative being administered but finally relented, the anguished whisper “Coline” dying on her lips.

A week later, the nurse walked in to check on her. The room was empty with the patient tag left behind. The patient file was torn and someone had systematically rearranged the name COLINE to form NICOLE and remarked – “The Ugly Coline is gone. Forever

The slashed tag read: “Coline: Suspected DID”


Notes:

DID: Dissociative Identity Disorder (also known as Multiple Personality Disorder)

As per Merriam Webster, Anagram (noun): a word or phrase made by transposing the letters of another word or phrase

My second venture into fiction writing. This was in response to an awesome Photo Challenge over at mindlovemisery’s prompts. I love feedback 🙂